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Autoimmun Rev. 2009 Dec;9(2):93-4. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

B cells and HCV: an infection model of autoimmunity.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Oncology, University of Bari Medical School, Policlinico, Bari, Italy.


In addition to cause acute and chronic liver disease, hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is frequently associated to autoimmune disorders, such as mixed cryoglobulinemia, primary glomerulonephritis, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and post-transplant proliferative disorders. Progression to malignant phenotype of B cells may be the consequence of additional genetic events or abnormal conditions resulting from modification of host cell genes involved in the control of oncogenes and oncoproteins. In this review, we will address the potential immune disregulatory mechanism(s) underlying HCV persistence. In addition, HCV/B-cell interaction that might explain defects in humoral immunity in individuals who develop chronic virus carriage and lymphoproliferative disorders will be emphasized.

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